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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Friday, Nov. 13, 2009:

The heat is on as state waits for Ehrlich decision, Montgomery reaches deal on new music venue, six more deaths from swine flu, Dixon says she thought gift cards were a gift, and counties says kids should have to stay in school until 18.

Rhetoric heats up on eve of state Republican convention
"Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has yet to say whether he is running again for governor. But the Democratic campaign against him has apparently already begun," writes The Post's John Wagner. "On Thursday, Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan W. Turnbull released an "open letter" to the former Republican governor, posing several unflattering questions for him to consider during his deliberations about 2010. Among them: "Do voters know that ... you increased spending by almost 22 percent in your last two years in office?" and "Do voters know that ... you raised state property taxes 57 percent?" There are several more, but you get the idea.
In response to the letter, former Ehrlich aide Henry Fawell said the Democrats "are redefining the term "paranoid.'"

And more commentary on both sides:

Korman: Think twice, Gov. Ehrlich
"Former Governor Bob Ehrlich took a look at the election results in New Jersey and Virginia and liked what he saw. I think Bob Ehrlich should take a closer look before deluding himself further," writes Marc Korman in Maryland Politics Watch. "Ehrlich's belief that New Jersey holds any relevance for his own political future is a big mistake on his part."

O'Malley Watch: Think twice, Gov. O'Malley

The anti-O'Malley blog takes a swipe at O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell's letter to fundraisers.
"Mr. Russell points out that in New Jersey, that the absolute hated Governor Jon Corzine, won Democrats by 86% to Chris Christie's 8% and that if these numbers hold, then O'Malley wins easily. ...What Mr. Russell doesn't realize, is that Maryland Democrats are much more conservative as a whole than New Jersey Democrats. On top of that, Maryland Republicans supported Bob Ehrlich by a stronger percentage than the unified group behind Chris Christie in New Jersey, prior to O'Malley's massive tax hike."

Montgomery finally reaches deal on Fillmore Music Hall
After months of wrangling on the details, a deal has finally been reached on building a Fillmore Music Hall in downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County officials said Thursday night. The Lee Development Group, which has development ambitions in the area, will give Montgomery the $3.5 million property needed for the venue, which will be run by the entertainment concern Live Nation.

Prince George's, Montgomery lobby to keep kids in school
School boards in Prince George's and Montgomery counties are asking Maryland legislators to pass a law requiring students to stay in school until they're 18 years old," writes Leah Fabel in The Examiner. "The Prince George's school board said that its more than 1,100 dropouts last year will end up costing the county more in the long run than it costs to keep reluctant 17- and 18-year-olds in school."

Dixon lawyer says mayor thought gift cards were, well, a gift.

"Prosecutors showed jurors slides of receipts they say prove Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon misappropriated holiday gift cards meant for needy family during the holiday," the AP reports. "The defense, meanwhile, argued in its opening statements Thursday that the cards were given to her for use at her discretion by former boyfriend and developer Ronald Lipscomb. Defense attorney Arnold Weiner told jurors that Lipscomb gave the gifts anonymously, as did developer Patrick Turner, and the mayor confused the cards from Turner as coming from Lipscomb. Prosecutors must prove she intentionally stole them."

More bad news for Maryland prisons

A former Maryland prison guard has pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to deal heroin as part of a scheme that smuggled drugs and cell phones into Maryland prisons. The sales may have helped the Black Guerilla Family gang, which is active in many state prisons.

6 more deaths in Md. from swine flu"

Maryland health officials say six more deaths associated with swine flu have occurred in the past month, the AP reports. Three are from the Baltimore area, two from western Maryland and one from southern Maryland. All involve adults with underlying health conditions. The deaths bring the state's total to 19.

State close to approving slots
"Members of a Maryland commission signaled Thursday that they are ready to award a license to operate the state's largest slot-machine gambling casino at Arundel Mills mall, citing the hundreds of millions of dollars a year it is projected to generate for the state," The Post's Wagner writes. "The 4,750-machine facility, proposed by Cordish Cos., still must win zoning approval from the Anne Arundel County Council, which has been divided over the issue for months."

The move came as Cordish says it will offer details next week on 4,000 jobs it says would be created by its planned slots casino at Arundel Mills, a show of confidence as the County Council will move toward a crucial vote on the proposal, writes Marc Shapiro in the Maryland Gazette

Del. Rosapepe's book arrives
"Too late for Halloween, but in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, Jim Rosapepe's new book "Dracula is Dead" is in bookstores now, 20 years after the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu and his communist regime," reports The Gazette.
"Rosapepe, the senator from District 21 who left a House of Delegates seat during the Clinton presidency to become ambassador to Romania, has written with his wife, broadcast journalist Sheilah Kast, a look at the little-understood country through a "series of vignettes," according to publisher Bancroft Press."

By Aaron C. Davis  |  November 13, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
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Next: Sources: Sheriff Jackson will run for Pr. Geo.'s county exec


Aaron, does the Post block comments not supportive of O'Malley? The Sun never posts my comments unless they are supportive. Can you look into it? Thanks.

Posted by: Juliea2 | November 13, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

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